Mobile food vendors look to expand reach 

The street food revolution is about to heat up in San Francisco if a new proposal to add a mobile food market to three popular city hubs is approved today.

The San Francisco Cart Project — the organizer behind Off the Grid, a street food market on Friday evenings at Fort Mason — is seeking the permits to employ food vendors in front of City Hall, in Golden Gate Park and at Mission Playground.

Company owner Matthew Cohen is offering the Recreation and Park Department at least $1,500 a month, in addition to a percentage of revenue, to dispatch up to 28 carts intermittently among the three areas through the end of October. The Recreation and Park Commission is scheduled to vote on the pending contract today.

If it passes, up to five carts will park at Civic Center Plaza on Fridays; 15 on the closed portion of Waller Street at Stanyan Street on Tuesdays and Sundays; and eight at Mission Playground on Saturdays.

The proposal is headed to the Recreation and Park Commission with a letter of support from the Cole Valley Improvement Association and nods from other neighborhood groups.

"That’s exactly the kind of thing that people that live around [Waller Street] want to happen — a temporary kind of positive thing," said Martha Hoffman of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council.

This project is coined the Roaming Mobile Street Food Market.

"We’re not going to [employ] them all at once. We’re going to open the markets in a way so we know what the demand is and gauge the interest of the communities," Cohen said. "We’re 100 percent open to feedback."

While Cohen would not reveal specific vendors, he did disclose the food will represent "world flavors" and "diversity" including "Asian vendors, Latin street food, Middle Eastern, everything under the sun."


Finding the food

If their contract is approved, a bevy of mobile food vendors will be dispatched to these locations:

Civic Center, Joseph Alioto Performing Arts Plaza

— Five carts

— Fridays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Closed portion of Waller Street, Golden Gate Park

— 15 carts

— Tuesdays, 4 p.m. to dusk; Sundays, 2 p.m. to dusk

Mission Playground, Linda and 19th streets

— Eight carts

— Saturdays, noon to dusk

Source: Recreation and Park Department

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